Mary Russell’s War (sixteen): family betrayals

17 November 1914

How do I write about this? My tumbling thoughts were just beginning to settle down, my mind was starting to feel as if it were moving in a forward direction again for the first time since the accident, when….

How can I go on, knowing the deceit of my own parents? Why would Mother have led me astray? Why would Father not have raised an objection?

It began when the November Strand arrived at the end of last week. When Dr Ginsberg brought the post, the journal was included, and as my headaches have lessened considerably, I did not need her to read aloud to me this third instalment of The Valley of Fear.

So I thanked her, and picked up the magazine—at which point she reached into her shopping bag and pulled out half a dozen of the Sunday Magazines from my father’s New York newspaper. “Do you want to read the rest of it?” she asked me.

“The rest of what?” I naturally enquired.

That was when she revealed that the story so teasingly stretched out by the English Strand monthly magazine has been heaped in generous weekly dollops upon Mr. Conan Doyle’s American audience! Worse, my father knew, and not once but twice over—both his papers from September 20 and that of September 27th would have contained the Sunday Magazine with portions of the story. The first of them came immediately on the heels of the lesser portion doled out in the September issue of Mother’s Strand.

So what happened? Why keep the American version from me? Father knew I relished tales of Sherlock Holmes, so why not give this new one to his daughter?

The only thing I can imagine is that Mother wished me to participate in the same hardship as her English compatriots, and Father chose not to go against her.

I was just beginning to stand on my feet, and now they have been swept out from under me. My mother deceived me, and my father sided with her. Perhaps even Levi knew. And now my Uncle Jake has decided to keep his distance from me.

I am alone in the world. Time to grow up, I think.

*  *  *

The earlier episodes of Russell’s War are collected here.


  1. Merrily Taylor on November 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Oh, Russell’s parents’ duplicity would be a real blow to any Sherlock Holmes fan, but I have to think there is more to this than meets the eye (or perhaps they simply wanted her to savor the suspense in waiting for the next issue!) But still…I can understand why she feels cruelly deceived!
    I’ve often wondered (knowing ever more about what Russell was like as a child) how her parents kept her from Stalking Sherlock Holmes, since she knew he lived in the neighborhood. Did they threaten to ground her for the rest of her adolescence if she was found anywhere near his villa? Or did she fear to be caught by Mr. Holmes and embarrassed? (To me the latter is the only thing that might have kept her away…)

  2. Sabrina Flynn on November 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Aah, poor Russell. Her journals really make one appreciate their first meeting all the more.

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